By Julian Linden
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Roger Federer already has it all. The Swiss master has nothing left to prove and hardly anything to lose. In casino parlance, he is now playing with the house's money.
Inevitable questions about his motivation arose when he lost last year's U.S. Open final to Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro but he answered those in emphatic fashion when he won this year's Australian Open.
He was beaten in the quarter-finals of the French Open, ending his sequence of 23 consecutive grand slam semi-final appearances.
Then, the unthinkable happened, he lost in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, marking the first time he had failed to reach the final at the All-England club since 2002.
Throughout it all, Federer has remained unfazed, hiding his emotions behind the same calm poker face of someone with a fistful of aces before revealing their hand.
Two weeks ago, he made the final of the Toronto Masters, losing to Andy Murray. Last week, he went one better and won the Cincinnati Masters.
"It moves very quickly," he explained. "I know the rules and how it all works."
Federer has good reason to feel confident about his prospects of winning the last grand slam of the year on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts he has transformed into his private playground.
"I guess the top four have the best shot again," Federer said.
Life has gone full circle for Federer since he first came to the United States as just another professional hoping to make it in the Big Apple.
These days he travels with his wife Mirka and their 13-month-old twin daughters, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, but the demands of fatherhood have not curtailed his boyish enthusiasm for play.
The video became an instant hit and sparked an internet debate about whether the footage was real or had been altered to which Federer offered the same sort of teasing answer he gives his opponents on the court.
"You know how it is with magicians," he said. "They don't tell how their tricks work."
(Editing by Ian Ransom)